I’ll be honest, this winter has been tough. I’ve been struggling so much with my mental health, with so much change in so little time (as it seems to happen to me often) it breaks my confidence. Everything I’ve been building comes crashing down and I can’t seem to get past re-building the foundation. I have my moments where I can find that motivation, but it all becomes temporary. I start to feel stuck and trapped and that I somehow can’t make it past where I am right now. I’m writing this in hopes that I can hold myself accountable to this burst of motivation.
Now, there are tons of self care, self help, self love ideas everywhere – good and bad. The thing that I feel like is overlooked is that it’s not a one size fits all guide. I know what self care can look like for me and that may not look the same for you. I also know what self care is not. It isn’t falling back into those comfortable habits. For me, that’s eating what I consider my garbage foods for comfort and staying in bed with no outside contact, leaving the dishes in the sink, and binging Netflix for days on end. Sure, momentarily I feel better because I’m not being overwhelmed with work and adulting, but it keeps me from moving past the shitty head space I’m in. Now, I love me a good binge watching day with the occasional pizza, but I fall into making this my coping mechanism and that’s not good, a pattern forms and I begin to feel comfortable even though I do want different.
It’s true what my mom always told me, cleaning up really does make you feel better. I know when I finally clean those dishes, do the laundry, and make my apartment sparkle that I feel accomplished. I was able to do that for myself. My space is clean, but what about me? For me, I loving doing a face mask or hair mask and taking a hot shower. Okay, I know these things seem superficial, but for me it helps give me back that hit of confidence I need to keep going. I don’t usually go to the gym even though I know it would totally improve how I am feeling, something I need to work on. I make it a point to walk to work – yes I did walk to work those times it was a blizzard out there and freezing (and don’t worry I bundled up, mom!). I put in my headphones and block out the world with my favourite tunes and get myself ready for the day. I do the same on the way home, but I’ve been known to blast the music as soon as I get into my place and pretend I’m lip-synching for my life. I love cooking too, and that really helps me because I’m making something for myself I know will nourish me and make me feel good. The big things you don’t always want to do can really push you to a better place. Living in chaos and mess sucks.
Self care is not about following a list of things that are supposedly going to make you feel better. It is about doing things for YOU, that are going to motivate you, that will re-build your lost confidence when you’re depressed, that will get you to a place where you can be the truest version of yourself again. It’s one of the hardest things to do – we live in a world where you come last and work is more important. It’s time to flip that and make more time for yourself when you can and not fall back into destructive habits. It’s going to be a lot of work, but is your happiness worth the fight? It sure is.8